UCLA Medical Symposium Demands Doctors Accommodate People Who Aren't Men or Women

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Healthcare has some problems. Allegedly one: It isn’t adequately inclusive of patients who don’t identify as guys or gals.

That’s a curious conclusion, as healthcare is medical rather than social. Nonetheless, at the University of California Los Angeles Friday, the need for increased accommodation was made clear.


The UCLA Children’s Discovery and Innovation Institute Symposium was co-hosted by transgender organizer Sid P. Jordan.

From Sid’s UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs page:

Sid Jordan (he/they) is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Social Welfare and a graduate student researcher with the UCLA Center for the Study of Women. His research responds to the epistemic and political assault on transgender lives and ideas, and examines collective organizing and survival strategies related to health care, healing, and safety among transgender people and social movements. His work also examines the changing politics and administration of public safety programs, with a focus on reducing structural exclusions and mitigating the harms of state intervention on LGBTQ survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

The Daily Bruin reports on the conference’s purpose:

[Sid explained that] he wanted to facilitate collaboration and conversation between researchers in fields such as biological sciences and gender studies.

Jordan said he wanted this event to help scientists at UCLA and across the country face the scientific field’s history of conducting studies that have harmed transgender and nonbinary communities. Speaking from his experience as a transgender person who does research on transgender health, he added that has seen researchers conduct studies on transgender people without consulting transgender community organizations, which can help cause these harms because of a lack of researchers’ lived experience.


Sid’s in luck; there’s a lot going on in the way of transformative care:

‘Good Morning America’ Issues a COVID PSA About ‘Pregnant People’

Breastfeeding Academy Bails on ‘Breasts’

‘The Practising Midwife’ Magazine Releases Transgender Issue Featuring Bearded Birthing Parent

University Renames Its Women’s Clinic Because ‘Women’ Was Medically Inaccurate

Hospitals Are Starting to Ask Men if They’re Pregnant

University Schools Midwifery Students on the Handling of the Birthing Penis

As for “lived experience,” can healthcare providers be expected to have walked socially in their patients’ shoes?

Either way, symposium participant Steven Mittelman — UCLA Health pediatric endocrinology division chief and father of a nonbinary child — wants understanding. “You think you know what you’re talking about until it affects you…and your family personally,” he said, “and so watching them struggle and learning myself what it all means was a really important, impactful journey for me, and I wanted to share some of that with the institution at large.”

It sounds as if Steven hopes doctors will double as counselors.

Speaking of:

Deboleena Roy, the senior associate dean at Emory College of Arts and Sciences, said some feminist and queer scholars have argued that biology and culture are not completely separate domains, meaning that sex and gender are not necessarily separate either.


Sex, if you weren’t aware, isn’t immutable:

These scholars argue that the ideas that underlie the concept of sex are not immutable, as culture and language affect our understanding of biology, and biology affects our understanding and expression of sex and gender, she said.

Social and political issues are infecting every aspect of life — from faith, to education, to science. We’re in the midst of a Great Merging. All things are becoming like all other things.

Meanwhile, Sid is afraid of what the wrong kind of medical research might do:

Scientific research has been used to advance anti-trans politics, and this is an example of why scientists should be mindful of the far-reaching effects of their research, Jordan said.

Going forward, I’m sure they will be.



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